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Measles

Travel - Think MeaslesMeasles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. The disease of measles and the virus that causes it share the same name. The disease is also called rubeola.

Measles causes fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die.  Other rash-causing diseases often confused with measles include roseola (roseola infantum) and rubella (German measles)...

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measles 1960sHistory of Measles Vaccine

A vaccine to protect against measles was developed in the 1960s and was quickly adopted. Widespread vaccination programs, including the Measles Initiative launched in 2001 by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization, contributed to global decreases in measles cases until the case count among children fell as low as 118, 000 by 2008.

Since 2008, however, vaccination campaigns have suffered from funding cutbacks, allowing the highly contagious disease to roar back.  According to the World Health Organization, outbreaks have been reported in 30 African countries as well as Thailand, Bulgaria, Indonesia and Vietnam. Britain has also been experiencing a resurgence of the disease following the publication of a flawed 1998 paper suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Although the paper has since been withdrawn and its author’s license to practice medicine in Britain revoked, the country’s MMR vaccination levels have not yet returned to those achieved before the paper was published. Measles cases, in turn, have risen to more than 10 times the number reported a decade earlier.

Source: The history of vaccines

At left measles vaccination campaign items from the 1960's